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Welterweight Emile Griffith Testifies Before Boxing Commission

May 22, 1962 - In the wake of the death of welterweight boxer Benny Paret, who perished 10 days after he was knocked out by Emile Griffith in a title bout at Madison Square Garden on March 24, a bipartisan committee of 7 New York state legislators is conducting hearings as part of an investigation into boxing. Griffith, testifying under oath before the committee today, said that at no time during the 12th round did he realize that his opponent was helpless. “I just kept punching,” he explained. “My manager said to me, ‘When you hurt Paret, keep punching. You hurt him before, but you let him get away, and then he hurt you.’” Griffith admitted being angered by Paret at the weigh-in hours before the fight. He said Benny had made insulting remarks questioning his manhood. Emile denied being angry in the ring, however. “You cannot be angry at a guy and go in the ring and fight with a cool head,” he remarked. Should Referee Ruby Goldstein, Paret’s cornermen, or somebody have stopped the fight sooner? “If the seconds had really wanted to stop the fight,” said the champion, “they could have jumped into the ring without worrying about having their man disqualified for their action.” Griffith will fight Ralph Dupas in Las Vegas on July 13 in his first title defense since the bout in which Paret was fatally injured.

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